Safety Tips for Ritual Abuse Survivors, by Ellen P. Lacter, Ph.D. Updated 7-19-2005
Note: When providing advice on specific cases, therapists must refrain from suggesting to survivors, "Sounds like
your family members are your abusers", or, "You should escape them", etc.- that's great fodder for lawsuits
Survivors have discovered time and time again that siblings and parents are often tortured for the specific purpose of
creating personalities who are assigned the job of "spying" on and controlling each other, to keep each other from
defying the abuser group, from acting on their own free will. This function is usually not within any conscious awareness
or control of the "day-time" personality or personalities.
For victims whose parents are cult-involved (often without their conscious control, but also sometimes willingly), it
is best to get a lot of physical distance, at least a few hundred miles, preferably a thousand!. This is especially true for
survivors of witchcraft, since the witchcraft groups claim "territories" (like gangs) and exert more physical control
in that areas and also believe their spiritual control is greater there.
There are few established safe places specifically for ritual abuse survivors with no financial resources to break away
from cult-active family and friends. C.A.R.E., Inc., has a "Community of Healing for Survivors of Trauma", a Christian
long-term residential community in Baldwin. Michigan. The program appears to be fairly small and there may or may not be openings
at any given time. They can be reached at http://www.care1.org/ or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Psychiatric hospitalization in a knowledgeable facility can be of great benefit. Some hospitals, such as Millwood Hospital,
in Arlington Texas (817-261-3121) understand ritual abuse (The Mungadze Association recently transferred it's hospital program
to Millwood Hospital from Cedars Hospital, where they were previously housed) (accepts Medi-Care and Medi-Caid). Survivors
can get short-term in-patient treatment, for up to one or two months. If it is unsafe to return to their original community,
the survivor may choose to remain in Texas near the hospital and to attend out-patient therapy with therapists trained at
Many other hospitals are also respectful of survivors. Most hospital stays, since the advent of managed care, are for
acute care and usually keep people for only a week or, at most, a month. The hospital may help survivors find resources for
follow-up out-patient psychotherapy, and some hospitals have decent longer-term day treatment or partial hospital programs
where survivors can attend group therapy and other activities for a few hours for up to five days a week.
In some rare but devastating cases, survivors reporting ritual abuse and mind control by political-agenda or criminal
groups have been mis-diagnosed as delusional and schizophrenic in psychiatric hospitals, have been committed to long-term
psychiatric hospitalization against their will, have been treated with improper medications, and have had great difficulty
Some battered women's shelters take in victims of familial ritual abuse, and know this is a real phenomenon. These shelters
tend to view psychological problems through a trauma model rather than a mental illness model, and are victim advocates. However,
some shelters or some staff may have difficulty believing in the existence of abuse by political-agenda or groups. Reporting
high-level corruption and highly organized abuse risks the survivor being labeled as crazy- which runs some risk of forced
commitment to mental hospitals, etc. Some shelters have long-term programs where victims and their children can stay up to
a year while they get settled in the community on their own, etc. To gain admittance to such a shelter, it is often more effective
to try to meet with someone, vs. just talk on the phone. In a face-to-face meeting, a counselor might be more likely to believe
the story of a survivor, sympathize with him or her, and qualify him or her for the shelter, perhaps bending the rule. There
are often local clinics who feed people to the shelter, which can be a door-way into these shelters, since the shelters are
usually hidden. So, a local battered women's service clinic or a rape crisis clinics can be a good place to start.
Social Security Disability Insurance is an important resource for survivors who cannot function well enough to be able
to work. Look in the telephone book under Disability Attorneys and obtaining legal advice when entering this process. Survivors
should ensure they obtain a thorough evaluation by someone who carefully documents their mental status, rather than a superficial
evaluation by an uncaring evaluator who deems a disabled survivor as able to work.
If the survivor remains in the area where the abuser group is active, having safe people around oneself is essential ,
since this results in some "accountability" for what one does, where one goes, etc.
Ideally, a survivor has trusted friends who know of the abuse who can help by staying with you the survivor on days and
nights when the survivor may have been programmed to return to the cult. These trusted friend should know the survivor's schedule,
work and free time. By knowing the schedule, these friends can call the survivor to check that she/he is where he/she is scheduled
to be, and can recognize if the survivor starts to "lose time",
If a survivor knows noone yet who she/he can trust to disclose the history of the abuse, a survivor can benefit from living
in a house with other people, like graduate students found in a local newspaper or ad board at a university, etc. This would
make it harder to "sneak" out in the middle of the night to abuser groups, make middle-of-the-night phone calls
to abusers, etc.
When survivors will be alone, they should lock telephones outside of the home, as in a car trunk, or give these items
to someone else, to make it more difficult to make "report-in" phone calls. Car keys can also be hidden outside.
Personalities programmed to report in would need to, go outside, find the car keys and unlock the car trunk. In that extended
time, the host personality may be able to regain executive control. A motion detector can also be installed near the front
door and set to go off at night. The alarm might wake the host if a programmed personality tried to leave in the middle of
Objects used for self-harm or suicide attempts should also be locked in a car trunk to make it more difficult for these
controlled personalities to submit to programmed commands for self-harm.
When survivors are concerned that they are supposed to attend events on particular dates, they should make themselves
accountable to someone else during and after the event.
Complete safety is achieved only when all abuser-submissive and programmed personalities have been freed from these controls.
Personalities being reaccessed must be found by the host and helped to change their responses, e.g., to not respond to program
access cues, to hang up on abusers, to not report in, to not submit to the terrorization tactics of their abusers, to not
fall prey to their deceitful promises, etc. Ultimately, the basis for these controls must be resolved. This generally involves
reassociating how cues and commands were installed, consciously "reteaching" oneself to not respond, and reclaiming
one's own free will.
Survivors should never go places alone and should never drive isolated routes. They should remain in crowds, and shop
in the daytime. Abductions or being driven off of a road, though rare, usually occur when there are no witnesses.
Survivors who believe they are at risk for physical assault and abduction should wear a camera around their necks, for
all to see, at all times, walking or driving. Secrecy is the modus operandi of organized abuser groups, and exposure is their
greatest fear. A camera is a powerful deterrent.
Going back to college or graduate school can also be an option. Some states provide decent grants for people going to
school. Some people remain in school primarily because they need the grants to financially stay above water. There may be
universities in an other part of the state. A college setting is often healing in itself, lots of support, counseling on campus,
Remember- although few therapists specialize in treating ritual trauma, many, many therapists have had one case along
the way, genuinely care, and have solid therapeutic skills and a humane philosophy, things that go a long way in themselves.
There are decent homeless shelter programs in many cities, where people can stay while they get jobs and places to live.
If the survivor is not concerned that he or she is at risk of hurting an elderly or disabled person, becoming a "companion"
is an option. Elderly and disabled people often need help with bathing, making sure they take their medications properly,
getting to MD appointments, cooking, shopping, to ensure that they don't fall, etc., but not to the level of needing nursing
care. And many are well-enough to allow the survivor to leave for a few hours (therapy) and may let the survivor and his or
her pets live in their home. Pay seems to range from 500 to about 1000 a week for full-time, sleep-in care. But most people
work 5 days a week as primary caregiver, or fill in for the primary caregiver on weekends. They advertise in the newspaper,
Do not avoid these options just to avoid cult-active people who may be there. Cult-active people are everywhere. But,
most places also have lots of good people and sources of support. Isolation is more dangerous than pursuing healthy attachments.
Do whatever is humanly possible to get long-term therapy by a receptive therapist and to overcome any mind control programming.
If a person is still programmed, it is really hard to break free, because the abusers do not have to find the survivor, the
survivor betrays herself/himself to the abusers on a daily or weekly basis, as in making "800" phone calls to the
abuser group every night at a specified time.
Survivors may need to give their money for therapy or program removal to a trusted friend to hold, so cult-obedient alters
do not use it for other things, lose it, give it to members of the abuser group, or other forms of self-sabotage.
Survivors of crimes by powerful groups should increase the security of their bank accounts to reduce the risk of criminal
bank withdrawals and identity theft. It is often advisable to cancel all ATM cards and to ask the bank manager to place a
memo on the account stating that no withdrawals are permitted except via checks that are written by the account holder, and
that no cash withdrawals are permitted except through visual recognition of the account holder at the branches used by the
account holder. Friends and supporters (therapists, clergy) of survivors may want to consider similar measures.
Survivors who believe they may be killed or "suicided" should make a clear and convincing video-taped statement
of their fear of being murdered and their desire to live rather than to suicide. This may increase an enemy's or enemy group's
fear of being identified upon committing a murder or a murder staged to appear as a suicide, accident, or willful disappearance.
This should reduce one's risk of being murdered. Here are some guidelines for making a Safety Video-tape:
Video-tape Protocol for People who Fear Being Murdered, Directly or Staged to Appear as a Suicide, Accident, or Willful
1. Fill out your responses to the following questions.
2. Have someone ask you these questions while video-taping you.
3. Refer to this form to remind you of all of your key points.
4. Express genuine emotion to get your point across and to make the press more likely to air the video-tape if you are
5. Distribute copies of the video-tape widely.
6. Have holders of the tape secure the safety of the tape.
7. Make it publicly known (e.g., speaking engagements, publications, e-mails, conversations on telephones you believe
to be tapped) that the video-tape is widely distributed and will be released to the press, concerned parties, and law enforcement,
if you die of unnatural or suspicious causes.
1. What individuals or groups do you believe want you dead?
2. Why would these parties want you dead?
3. Can anyone support or corroborate that these parties are your enemies?
4. What methods do you believe these parties use to murder people?
5. Do You believe there have been any previous attempts on your life? If so, describe the suspected assailants and methods
6. Are you suicidal?
7. Why do you want to live?
8. Under what circumstances would you ever suicide?
9. Do you abuse life-threatening substances?
10. Do you have lethal weapons or substances in your home?
11. Do you drive safely? What is your record of traffic accidents and violations?
12. Do you have any desire to flee your current home and support persons?
This process can also be done without use of a videotape. I recommend a 2-step process.
1. Prepare a statement that includes all of the details of the crimes;
a) real identifiers: name, birthdate, Social Security Number, etc.
b) crime history; places, time, names of perpetrators
Provide this statement in person or via snail mail to a select few trusted individuals to place in a secure location.
2. Send a statement via e-mail to a larger number of people:
a) Statement of concern for survivor's safety (Questions 1 through 5 above).
b) Statement about the survivor's not being a danger to self, or wishing to flee (if true) (Questions 6 through 12 above).
c) a statement that a number of people (do not name them) have the specific crime facts- names, places, dates, etc., and
that this information will be made public and reported to law enforcement if anything happens to the survivor.
Use a pseudonym in this e-mailed statement. Do not name the perpetrators.
This 2-step process may increase the safety of the survivor because the main fear of these criminals is that of public
The following internet articles provide further important information on staying safe:
"Maximizing Personal Safety" Author: Jeannie Riseman
"Maintaining External Safety" Author: Olyssa
Published on: July 14, 2001 http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/ritual_abuse/74737
"Safety and Reaccessing Tips - as shared by ritual abuse survivors", by Jeanne Adams
Mr. Light & Associates, Inc. www.mrlight.org
"Finding A Safe House" Author: Svali
Published on: February 17, 2001 http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/6554/60632
"Dealing with Threats" Author: Svali
Published: May 8, 2002 http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/ritual_abuse/91745
Maximizing Personal Safety, By Jeannie Riseman
Maintaining External Safety, by Olyssa
Safety and Reaccessing Tips, Written by ritual abuse survivors, compiled by Mr. Light & Associates, Inc.
Finding a Safe House, by Svali
Dealing with Threats, by Svali